It’s August, and lots of pets are lying around enjoying the lazy dog days of summer. It seems like most dogs relish soaking up the sunshine, even when it’s really hot outside and they’re comfy in your cool air-conditioned house. It’s not uncommon to find your ‘inside’ dog laying in that one spot where the sun shines through your window or peers down through a skylight, especially during long summer afternoons. We muse at them; happy they’re enjoying the warmth of the sun. You might wonder though – is it good for your dog to bask in the hot sun? Are they getting enough? Are they getting too much? We wondered about that, too, and found it’s healthy for dogs to get the right amount of sun exposure. In fact, they need it.
it’s healthy for dogs to get the right amount of sun exposure
We humans really enjoy the warmth of the sun. Most of us realize the right amount of sun exposure can be healthy because it helps produce vitamin D, which is essential for regulating how much calcium and phosphate is in our body. We need essential vitamins and minerals to keep our bones and muscles healthy. Most humans know too much sun can cause problems. Too little can too. We need regular doses. The right exposure time depends on your skin’s sensitivity. As a general rule, we should be getting 10 – 30 minutes of midday exposure, three or four times a week. Have you ever felt sluggish on cloudy days or have difficulty sleeping on days you haven’t seen the sun? Regular (i.e. daily) doses of sunshine help to keep spirits up and the circadian rhythm in check. It’s the same for our pets; periodic sun exposure provides similar health benefits.
For our pets, the sun:
Supplies Vitamin D: Sunshine is a source of vitamin D production (just as it is for humans!). Vitamin D is important for dogs. According to PuppyLeaks, the sun helps dogs absorb calcium, regulate phosphorus balance, and is critical for bone formation and muscle and nerve control. The Dog Place tells us that Vitamin D also “affects your dog’s thyroid, metabolic balance, heat cycles and libido.”
Regulates Sleep Cycle: Sunshine affects your dog’s healthy circadian rhythm, according to Dogs Naturally Magazine. The early morning sun rays help your dog know that it’s time to wake up and the evening sun’s red hues fading to dark helps your dog calm down and get ready to go to sleep. Much like humans, dogs may not sleep well if they don’t have exposure to the sun to naturally feel when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake.
Ensures Good Moods: Sunlight helps the brain release Serotonin, and that helps us all feel better. Even though our pups are great companions and love us unconditionally, they may still get down (lethargic or depressed), especially if they are alone all day long while we’re away. Whole Dog Journal points out that without enough sunshine in their day making them happy, they could become a bit more snarly than usual. Serotonin, with the help of a bit of sunlight, improves their mood, according to The Dog Place.
If your dog is more of a couch potato than a sun worshiper, it might take more than a quick outside walk to get the sun’s health benefits; it takes regular exposure. Whole Dog Journal recommends 20 to 40 minutes of unfiltered solar rays, twice each day, as a regular healthy dose for dogs. Getting small 10-minute doses several times throughout the day can also be beneficial.
too much sun can be harmful to your pooch
But be sun savvy. Just like humans, too much sun can be harmful to your pooch. Dogs are susceptible to sun burn and skin cancer just like us. Whole Dog Journal suggests checking the ultraviolet (UV) index before spending too much time in the sun; higher than 7 will cause certain dogs to be more susceptible to skin cancer. Dogs need to have protection from prolonged exposure to the sun. Perhaps a shady place, or even a “made for dogs” sunscreen application will do the trick, according to PuppyLeaks. Fortunately, most dogs know when they’ve had enough direct sun exposure. They’re smart enough to move to a shadier spot (unlike some of us humans!)!
So, fellow humans – let’s take our solar powered pooches outside for some fun in the sun! The fresh air, exercise, and sunshine will improve your dog’s (and your) overall health. You may need gear to ensure that your dog is safe and secure whether hanging out at home or going out for a walk or jog. We have a large selection of cool, breathable, fashionable, and comfortable bamboo dog collars, harnesses, tandem leads, and leashes that are perfect for your pooch. Our beautiful solid Colors Inspired by Nature collection includes sunny colors of orange (Falling Leaves) and red (Berry), and don’t miss our sunset shades of purple (Spring Lilac) and pink (Seashell). Our Saving the Earth designs celebrating the warm summer months include Solar Powered Pooch and Making Waves.
Wishing you and your pooch all the best fun in the sun,
Jim and Lisa
Wagging Green Pet Products